Uruguay: Gender stereotypes in the abortion law

April 22, 2019

Congratulations to Lucía Berro Pizzarossa, LL.M., a doctoral candidate in International Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, who has published several articles about abortion law.  We are pleased to circulate the abstract of her latest article, and links to some others by the same author.

Lucía Berro Pizzarossa,‘“Women are Not in the Best Position to Make These Decisions by Themselves”: Gender Stereotypes in the Uruguayan Abortion Law’ (2019) University of Oxford Human Rights Hub Journal 25-54.  Article online.

Abstract:     Efforts to protect women’s rights can cast dark shadows. Dangerous and often unnoticed stereotypes can motivate and infiltrate legal reforms. Recent changes to the law on abortion in Uruguay have been held out as a best practice model in South America.  Recognising the power of the law to shape our understandings of how people are and should be, this article aims to unpack the stereotypes on women seeking abortions in the Uruguayan legal discourse and map how the law on abortion gives legal force to these harmful stereotyped ideas.  This article analyses the parliamentary proceedings on the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy Act. It asks: Do the debates on abortion in Uruguay reveal a cultural shift? Do members of parliament’s arguments hinge on harmful stereotypes?

In asking these questions, this article explores the extent to which a fairly liberal and widely praised domestic abortion law complies with the national and international human rights obligations to eradicate harmful gender stereotypes. Mining the rhetoric used in the parliament debates reveals the stereotyped images of women that seek abortion services that—rather than reflecting the true complexity and diverse experiences of women that seek abortion—are grounded in women’s perceived degree of deviance from gendered stereotypes, particularly those surrounding motherhood. Uruguayan abortion law, while seemingly protecting women’s rights, in fact hinges on traditional gender attitudes and stereotypes. This article provides the foundations to further develop sophisticated legal and political strategies for fulfilling women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Other articles authored by Lucía Berro Pizzarossa:

Here to Stay: The Evolution of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in International Human Rights Law,” by Lucía Berro Pizzarossa, Laws, 7.3 (2018): 1-17. Open Access Article.

Realising the right to sexual and reproductive health: Access to essential medicines for medical abortion as a core obligation.” by Katrina Perehudoff, Lucía Berro Pizzarossa and Jelle Stekelenburg BMC International Health and Human Rights, 18.1 (2018) [8 pages]. Article online.

Legal barriers to access abortion services through a human rights lens: the Uruguayan experience,” by Lucía Berro Pizzarossa, Reproductive Health Matters 26:52(2018): 151-158.  Abstract and article.

“Global Survey of National Constitutions: Mapping Constitutional Commitments to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights,” by Lucía Berro Pizzarossa and Katrina S. Perehudoff,  Health and Human Rights 19.2 (2017): 279-293. Abstract and Article.  Also published in Healthcare as a Human Rights Issue: Normative Profile, Conflicts and Implementation, ed. Sabine Klotz, Heiner Bielefeldt, Martina Schmidhuber, Andreas Frewer (Bielefeld, Germany:  Transcript Verlag, 2017) 321-346  Open Access chapter.

See also:
Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives, by Rebecca J. Cook and Simone Cusack, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010),  Book in English.
Spanish edition online: PDF

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Compiled by the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca   See Program website for our PublicationsInformation resources, and Reprohealthlaw Commentaries Series.
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REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – February 2019

February 19, 2019

SUBSCRIBE TO REPROHEALTHLAW: To receive these updates monthly by email, enter your address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.

DEVELOPMENTS:

[abortion] Ireland – The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act was signed into law, effective January 1, 2019.  Medical Council also deleted four of the five paragraphs dealing with abortion from its guide on professional conduct and ethics because they conflicted with the Act.  Newspaper article.

[abortion -Northern Ireland] UK Supreme Court had ruled in June ([2018] UKSC 27 (7 June 2018)  On appeal from: [2017] NICA 42that violation of European Convention on Human Rights could not be decided without at least one complainant.  On January 30, 2019,  Sara Ewart, who had once travelled for abortion of a fatally impaired fetus, launched a case that could find Northern Ireland’s abortion law in breach of the UK’s human rights commitments. She is supported by Amnesty International.  News articleAmnesty International press release.

[conscience – institutional] Chile, Constitutional Court upheld an unconstitutionality claim against the government’s new Regulations about the scope of “institutional” conscientious objection for private facilities and clinics.  STC Rol N° 5572-18-CDS / 5650-18-CDS (acumuladas). January 18, 2019.   Spanish decision  English news report.

[conscience]   Norway: Supreme Court upholds rights of doctor who refused to insert IUD.  Two cases: I. Sauherad municipality (Counsel Frode Lauareid) v. A, Norges Kristelige Legeforening (intervener) (Counsel Håkon H. Bleken), II. A, Norges Kristelige Legeforening (intervener) (Counsel Håkon H. Bleken) v. Sauherad municipality (Counsel Frode Lauareid, HR-2018-1958-A (case no. 2018/199), 11 October 2018 (Supreme Court of Norway) Judgment online in English – official translation.      Newspaper article.

[stigma] US:  Vending Machines Offer Emergency Contraception Without the Stigma introduced in 2012, now at several campuses, including Stanford University.   News report.

SCHOLARSHIP:

[abortion access]  Crossing Troubled Waters: Abortion in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Prince Edward Island, ed. Colleen MacQuarrie, Fiona Bloomer, Claire Pierson and Shannon Stettner (Charlottetown, PEI, Canada: Island Studies Press, 2018). 288 pages.      Table of ContentsPublisher’s web page.

[abortion law]   “Criminal law and the risk of harm: a commentary on the impact of criminal laws on sexual and reproductive health, sexual conduct and key populations,” by Veronica Birga, Luisa Cabal, Lucinda O’Hanlon & Christina Zampas.   Reproductive Health Matters, 26.52 (2018): 33-37 Article online.

[abortion law, Argentina] Federalism, two-level games and the politics of abortion rights implementation in sub-national Argentina, by Alba Ruibal, in Reproductive Health Matters 26:54 (Nov. 2018): 137-144.   Article in English with abstracts in English. French & Spanish.

[abortion law, Argentina] “Legal obstacles and social change: strategies of the abortion rights movement in Argentina,” by Alba Ruibal and Cora Fernandez Anderson, in Politics, Groups and Identity,  preview November 2018, 17 pages.  Institutional access.   Abstract from Safe Abortion.

[abortion law, Argentina]”Federalism and subnational legal mobilization: feminist litigation strategies in Salta, Argentina,” by Alba Ruibal,  Law & Society Review,  32-page preview 29 October 2018. Institutional access.    Abstract from Safe Abortion.

[abortion law – Brazil]  Constitutionalizing Abortion in Brazil, by Marta Machado and Rebecca J. Cook, Revista de Investigações Constitucionais / Journal of Constitutional Research, vol. 5, n. 3 (set./dez. 2018) pp.185-231.  Abstract and Article PDF.   Also at SSRN.

[abortion law – Brazil and Mexico]  “Constitutionalism and rights protection in Mexico and Brazil: comparative remarks, by Francisca Pou Giménez, in Revista de Investigações Constitucionais / Journal of Constitutional Research, vol. 5, n. 3 (set./dez. 2018) pp 233-255  Abstract and article PDF.

[abortion law, Dominican Republic]  “It’s Your Decision.  It’s Your Life:  Total criminalization of abortion in the Dominican Republic.”  interviews, plus legal overview and recommendations.  (Human Rights Watch, Nov 19, 2018).   84 pages. English PDF    Spanish PDF.   Online in English.    Overview with 5-minute video.

[abortion law -Ireland]  “Abortion, the Irish Constitution, and constitutional change” by David Kenny, Revista de Investigações Constitucionais / Journal of Constitutional Research, vol. 5, n. 3 (set./dez. 2018) pp. 257-275.   Abstract and Article PDF.

[abortion law, Mexico] “Maternidad o Castigo:  La criminalización del aborto en Mexico,”  (Mexico, GIRE, 2018)  [Report in Spanish:] Informe de 72 paginas.  For executive summary in English, see: Motherhood or Punishment: The criminalization of abortion in Mexico:  English summary.

[abortion law] “Northern Ireland and Abortion Law Reform,” by Kathryn McNeilly, Fiona Bloomer and Claire Pierson,  Queen’s University, Ulster University and University of Liverpool, Sept. 2018, open access, 8 pages.  Briefing Paper.

[adolescents]  “(De)Criminalizing Adolescent Sex: A rights-based assessment of age of consent laws in Eastern and Southern Africa,” by Godfrey Dalitso Kangaude and Ann Skelton, SAGE Open (Oct-Dec 2018): 1 –12.   Article online.   Abstract.

[conscience]  “Objection ladies! Taking IPPF-EN v. Italy one step further, by Emmanuelle Bribosia, Ivana Isailovic and Isabelle  Rorive, in:  Integrated Human Rights in Practice:Rewriting Human Rights Decisions, ed. Eva Brems and Ellen Desmet (Cheltenham, UK:  Elgar, 2018).  Abstract and previous version.

[conscience]  “Religious Refusals and Reproductive Rights,” by Louise Melling, chapter 14 in:  The Conscience Wars: Rethinking the Balance between Religion, Identity, and Equality, ed. Susanna Mancini and Michel Rosenfeld (Cambridge, UK:  Cambridge University Press, 2018)  pp. 375-391.   Institutional Access.

[conscience]  “Seeking to square the circle:  Conscientious objection in Reproductive Healthcare” by Emmanuelle Bribosia and Isabelle  Rorive, chapter 15 in:  The Conscience Wars: Rethinking the Balance between Religion, Identity, and Equality, ed. Susanna Mancini and Michel Rosenfeld (Cambridge, UK:  Cambridge University Press, 2018)  pp. 392-413.  Institutional Access.    Abstract and previous version

 

[gender stereotyping, I.V. v. Bolivia, sterilization]  “The human rights impact of gender stereotyping in the context of reproductive health care,” by Ciara O’Connell and Christina Zampas,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 144 (2019):  116–121.  PDF online here.

[maternal health] Impact of reproductive evolutionary mismatch on women’s health and the need for action and research, by Mahmoud F. Fathalla, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 144 (Feb. 2019): 129–134.  Institutional Access.  

[New book] Beyond Virtue and Vice:  Rethinking Human Rights and Criminal Law
ed.  Alice M. Miller and Mindy Jane Roseman,  Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019)  360 pages. Book information.
Intro and chapters 1 and 3 online.
Chapters about abortion law include:
ο    “Abortion as Treason: Sexuality and nationalism in France” by Mindy Jane Roseman
ο    “Criminal Law, Activism and Sexual and Reproductive Justice: What we can learn from the sex selection campaign in India,” by Geetanjali Misra and Vrinda Marwah
ο    “Harm Production: An argument for decriminalization,”  by Joanna N. Erdman

JOBS

Links to employers in the field of Reproductive and Sexual Health Law are online here.

Senior Vice President, Global Legal Program, Center for Reproductive Rights, New York, USA.    Job details and application form.

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Human rights impact of gender stereotyping in reproductive health care

February 19, 2019

Congratulations and thanks to Ciara O’Connell of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights, and Christina Zampas,  a Fellow in the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, whose co-authored article was recently published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics:

“The human rights impact of gender stereotyping in the context of reproductive health care,” by Ciara O’Connell and Christina Zampas,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 144 (2019):  116–121.  PDF online here.

Abstract:
Gender stereotypes surrounding women’s reproductive health impede women’s access to essential reproductive healthcare and contribute to inequality more generally. Stereotyping in healthcare settings impedes women’s access to contraceptive information, services, and induced abortion, and lead to involuntary interventions in the context of sterilization. Decisions by human rights monitoring bodies, such as the Inter‐American Court of Human Rights’ case, IV v. Bolivia, which was a case concerned with the involuntary sterilization of a woman during childbirth, highlight how stereotypes in the context of providing health care can operate to strip women of their agency and decision‐making authority, deny them their right to informed consent, reinforce gender hierarchies and violate their reproductive rights. In the present article, IV v. Bolivia is examined as a case study with the objective being to highlight how, in the context of coercive sterilization, human rights law has been used to advance legal and ethical guidelines, including the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics’ (FIGO) own guidelines, on gender stereotyping and reproductive healthcare. The Inter‐American Court’s judgment in IV v. Bolivia illustrates the important role FIGO’s guidance can play in shaping human rights standards and provides guidance on the service provider’s role and responsibility in eliminating gender stereotypes and upholding and fulfilling human rights.

KEYWORDS
Ethical standards; FIGO guidelines; Forced sterilization; Human rights; Human rights law;  Informed consent; Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Stereotypes.
The published article is online here.
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Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.

 


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – January 2019

January 14, 2019

SUBSCRIBE TO REPROHEALTHLAW: To receive these updates monthly by email, enter your address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.

DEVELOPMENTS

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Legal access to abortion expanded in July 2018, to comply with Article 14 of the (Maputo) Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. “Women can now legally access abortion – in cases of sexual assault, rape or incest, or when the continuing pregnancy would endanger the mental and physical health of the woman or the life of the woman or the fetus.”  Details from Safe Abortion.

El Salvador: Court frees another woman jailed under anti-abortion laws, BBC News (Dec. 18, 2018).   BBC News article

[U.N. Human Rights Committee]  General comment No. 36 (2018) on  article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, on the right to life.” U.N. Doc, CCPR/C/GC/36, October 30, 2018. Advance unedited version.

ABORTION LAW DECISIONS ON THE WEB

Abortion Law Decisions webpages, in English and Spanish, are now updated with new court decisions and alternate links to older decisions. Prepared by our International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, it includes Domestic, Regional and International Jurisprudence.  English edition.   Spanish edition.

SCHOLARSHIP:

[abortion]  “Understandings of self-managed abortion as health inequity, harm reduction and social change,” by Joanna N. Erdman, Kinga Jelinska & Susan Yanow, Reproductive Health Matters 26.54 (Nov. 2018): 13-19.   Abstract and article.

[abortion]  “Re-situating Abortion: Bio-politics, Global Health and Rights in Neo-liberal Times.” Special Issue of Global Public Health 13.6 (2018). Guest Editors: Maya Unnithan and Silvia de Zordo.  Table of Contents with links to articles.

[abortion guidelines – France] “Elective abortion: Clinical practice guidelines from the French College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (CNGOF)”  Christophe Vayssière et al.,et. al. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 222 (March 2018): 95–101  Abstract and article.

[abortion law – Malawi] “The Duty to make abortion law transparent:  A Malawi case study,”  by Godfrey Dalitso Kangaude and Chisale Mhango, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 143 (Dec. 2018): 409–413.   PDF at Wiley onlineSubmitted text at SSRN.

[abortion law  – Ireland] “A tough job: recognizing access to abortion as a matter of equality. A commentary on the views of the UN Human Rights Committee in the cases of Mellet v. Ireland and Whelan v. Ireland,” by Katarzyna Sękowska-Kozłowska,  Reproductive Health Matters 26.54 (Nov. 2018): 25-31.  Article online.

[abortion law – United Kingdom]  “UK Abortion Law: Reform Proposals, Private Members’ Bills, Devolution and the Role of the Courts,” by Robert Brett Taylor, Adelyn L.M. Wilson, Modern Law Review, 2019  Abstract and article.

[abortion laws – sex selection, India and U.S.] Women’s human rights and migration: sex selective abortion laws in the United States and India, by Sital Kalantry, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017, 272 pp.,  Reviewed in International Feminist Journal of  Politics

[abortion policies database] “Global Abortion Policies Database: a new approach to strengthening knowledge on laws, policies, and human rights standards,” by Brooke Ronald Johnson, Jr., Antonella Francheska Lavelanet and Stephanie Schlitt, BMC International Health and Human Rights 18.35 (Sept 2018): 1-5.  Abstract and article.

[abortion rights – Argentina] “Federalism, two-level games and the politics of abortion rights implementation in subnational Argentina, by Alba Ruibal, Reproductive Health Matters 54 (Nov. 2018): 137-144.  Article online.

[Europe] “Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe,” Issue Paper by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (France: Council of Europe, Dec. 2017).  78-page Issue Paper.

[gender stereotypes – judiciary]  “Background paper on the role of the judiciary in addressing the harmful gender stereotypes related to sexual and reproductive health and rights: A review of case law.”  (Geneva: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, [2018])  in English  and Spanish

“Impact of reproductive evolutionary mismatch on women’s health and the need for action and research,” by Mahmoud F. Fathalla, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 144.2 (Feb. 2019): 129-134 | Abstract and article online.

US-focused news, resources, and legal developments are available  on Repro Rights Prof Blog.   View or subscribe.


JOBS

Links to employers in the field of Reproductive and Sexual Health Law are online here
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Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.

 

 

 

 


El papel del Poder Judicial en el abordaje de los estereotipos nocivos de género

January 14, 2019

Muchas gracias por este documento de antecedentes, que forma parte de una serie de documentos de la Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos sobre la estereotipación de género.  Agradecemos a Christina Zampas y a Johanna B. Fine por su trabajo de investigación y preparación de las versiones anteriores.

Documento de antecedentes sobre el papel del Poder Judicial en el abordaje de los estereotipos nocivos de género en casos relativos a la salud y los derechos sexuales y reproductivos: Una reseña de la jurisprudencia (Geneva: OHCHR, 2018)
Informe en español.  
(Same report in English)

En este documento, se analiza cómo han impugnado los tribunales nacionales y subnacionales y los órganos judiciales internacionales y regionales3 la estereotipación nociva de género presente en la legislación, en las políticas o en distintas causas seleccionadas en materia de salud y derechos sexuales y reproductivos (SDSR) que fueron dirimidas en tribunales de primera instancia. Por otro lado, también se analizan casos donde estos tribunales y órganos han incurrido en una estereotipación nociva, lo que se traduce en violaciones de los derechos humanos. También se analiza la jurisprudencia pertinente de los organismos cuasijudiciales internacionales y regionales y de los mecanismos de derechos humanos. Por último, el documento intenta identificar estrategias y formular recomendaciones sobre la función que cumple la judicatura a la hora de abordar la estereotipación nociva en casos de esta naturaleza. Índice

Este informe de 45 páginas demuestra los prejuicios y las creencias acerca del sexo, los roles de los sexos y las características sexuales de los hombres y las mujeres obstaculizan el pleno disfrute de los derechos en materia de salud y derechos sexuales y reproductivos, y en consecuencia, marginan y excluyen a los individuos que no cumplen o no conforman los mandatos de género y subordinan y controlan a las mujeres y a las niñas. Por este motivo, al identificar y desarticular de manera explícita los estereotipos y al adjudicar recursos eficaces para hacerles frente, los tribunales tienen y pueden tener un importante impacto transformador para catalizar la eliminación de los estereotipos de género y garantizar la igualdad en toda la sociedad.

Índice

I. Introducción
i. Antecedentes
ii. Cómo entender los estereotipos, la estereotipación, su vínculo con los derechos humanos y el papel del Poder Judicial

II. La estereotipación y los estereotipos de género y la salud y los derechos sexuales y reproductivos
i. Estereotipos sobre la reproducción
ii. Los estereotipos sobre los roles dentro de la familia, el matrimonio y las relaciones familiares
iii. Estereotipos sobre los actos sexuales consensuales
iv. Estereotipos sobre la identidad de género

III. Estrategias para fortalecer la función del Poder Judicial en la eliminación de los estereotipos.
i. Reformar leyes, políticas y marcos regulatorios/orientativos
ii. Identificar y poner de relieve las buenas prácticas
iii. Monitorear y analizar el razonamiento judicial
iv. Hacer frente a la estereotipación judicial
v. Fortalecer la capacidad judicial
vi. Defender la diversidad dentro del poder judicial.

Recursos Relacionados:

Rebecca J. Cook y Simone Cusack, Estereotipos de Género: Perspectivas Legales Transnacionales, traducido por: Andrea Parra, 291 pp  (Bogota: Profamilia Colombia, 2011). Tabla de Contenido,  El Libro (291 pp) PDF    (Entrevista em português)

Rebecca J. Cook,  Estereotipos de Género: Perspectivas Legales Transnacionales, en:  Violencia Contra La Mujer y Justicia Reproductiva, IV Congreso LatinoAmericano Jurídico sobre Derechos Reproductivos, 2, 3, y 4 de Noviembre de 2015 en Lima Peru. (Lima:  PROMSEX, 2017):  pp. 27-74.  en línea aquí.

Rebecca J. Cook, Bernard M. Dickens and Simone Cusack, “La Estereotipación Poco Ética de la Mujer en la Salud Reproductiva,”  Discusiones sobre Genero, Sexualidad y Derecho: Taller 2010, ed. Alejandro Madrazo, Estefanía Vela, y Cecilia Garibi.  (Mexico D.F.: Fontamara, 2013) 123-134.   en línea aquí.

Otras publicaciones relevantes en español  están en línea aquí.
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REPROHEALTHLAW website:  Nuestras publicaciones sobre salud reproductiva y derechos humanos en español o português están en línea aquí.


Judicial roles in addressing harmful RSH gender stereotypes

January 14, 2019

Congratulations to our esteemed colleagues from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) who, with assistance from human rights experts Christina Zampas and Johanna B. Fine, recently issued the following publication, in English and Spanish.

Background paper on the role of the judiciary in addressing the harmful gender stereotypes related to sexual and reproductive health and rights: A review of case Law.  (Geneva: OHCHR, 2018)   in English  and Spanish

This paper analyzes how national and sub-national courts and international and regional judicial bodies have challenged wrongful gender stereotyping in legislation, policies or cases by lower courts concerning select sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues. It also analyses cases where these courts and bodies have instead engaged in wrongful stereotyping, resulting in violations of human rights.  Relevant jurisprudence from international and regional quasi-judicial bodies and human rights mechanisms is also analyzed in the study.  The paper finally seeks to identify strategies and make recommendations concerning the role of the judiciary in addressing wrongful stereotyping in such cases.

Overall, the report demonstrates that misperceptions and beliefs about the sex, sex role and sexual characteristics of men and women obstruct the full enjoyment of SRHR, operating to marginalize and exclude gender non-conforming individuals and to subordinate and control women and girls. As such, by explicitly identifying, debunking, and awarding effective remedies to address stereotypes, courts have and can have a critically important transformative impact in catalyzing the elimination of gender stereotypes and ensuring equality throughout society.

After briefly introducng stereotypes, stereotyping, and the role of the judiciary, the authors examine stereotypes related to:

  • reproduction
  • family formation
  • consensual sexual conduct, and
  • gender identity.

It then offers strategies for strengthening the role of the judiciary in eliminating stereotyping.  These strategies are discussed under the following headings:

  • Legal policy, and regulatory/guidance reforms
  • Identify and highlight good practices
  • Monitor and analyze judicial reasoning
  • Challenge judicial stereotyping in cases
  • Build judicial capacity, and
  • Advocate for diversity within the judiciary.

The entire 45-page background paper is online   in English  and Spanish

Related Resources:

The human rights impact of gender stereotyping in the context of reproductive health care,” by Ciara O’Connell and Christina Zampas,  forthcoming in International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2019.  PDF Early View online here.

Unethical Female Stereotyping in Reproductive Health,” by R.J. Cook, Simone Cusack and Bernard M. Dickens.  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics  109 (2010) 255–258. PDF online. Alternate linkSpanish translation.

Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives, by Rebecca J. Cook and Simone Cusack, Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights Series, University of Pennsylvania Press 2010.  Book informationSpanish translation, 311 pages.
_____________________________________
Compiled by
the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.

 

 

 

 

 

Related resources

?Gender stereotyping book 2010 EN and Spanish

Zampas blog on gender stereotyping IV Bolivia?

Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.


“What is Africanness?” Contesting nativism in race, culture and sexualities, new book by Prof. Charles Ngwena

September 30, 2018

Congratulations to Professor Charles G. Ngwena from the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, whose peer-reviewed monograph is now freely available for download through the open-access Pretoria University Law Press.

Charles Ngwena,  What is Africanness?  : Contesting nativism in culture, race and sexualities,  (Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2018) 306 pages.     Download free PDF or order paperback.

This important book contributes to the ongoing scholarly conversation about who is African and what is African.  It aims to implicate a reductive sameness in the naming of Africans (‘nativism’) by showing its teleology and effects, then offers an alternative liberating and decentred understanding of Africa as the land of diverse identifications.   As the author states in the opening chapter: “The intention of this book . . . is to offer a discourse on how Africans can name themselves in the present and in the future without succumbing to nativist impulses requiring a homogeneous past and establishing a transcendental ontology as essential elements of Africanness.  The book seeks to develop a plausible account of African identifications, but ultimately leaves the question Who/what is African? open to debate.”  (p.17)  Accordingly, the book ends with an epilogue, rather than a conclusion.

The book has three major parts:

1: BACKGROUND TO THE HERMENEUTICS OF HETEROGENOUS AFRICANNESS

2: AFRICANNESS, RACE AND CULTURE

3: HETEROGENEOUS SEXUALITIES
The third part of the book “comprises three chapters organised around interrogating representations of African sexualities and ultimately suggesting a philosophical way forward in the manner sexual citizenship is contested.” (p. 14)  The REPROHEALTHLAW Blog is pleased to circulate brief overviews of these chapters, as excerpted from the author’s introduction to the book:

Chapter 6.   Representing African Sexualities: Contesting Nativism from Without     PDF online 
This chapter “speaks to nativism from without. It highlights that narratives which represent African sexualities should always be understood as being culturally and historically situated. They are representations constructed within the knowledge and power system(s) of a given polity at a particular historical time and location, together with a social and political dynamics for social stratification, domination and status subordination. The chapter uses the representation of African sexualities in colonial discourses to make this point. I do not argue that colonial discourses tell us everything we need to know about African sexualities or that, historically, they are the single most important archive on the representation of African sexualities.
“Rather, the value of colonial discourses lies in their stubbornly persistent power, which continues to summon ‘Africans’ into place. In many ways, the construction of stereotypical representations of African sexualities is anchored in the nativisation of African cultures by colonial discourses. The argument in this chapter draws in part on Edward Said’s ‘orientalism’ and Mahmood Mamdani’s ‘nativism’. The works of Said and Mamdani serve as important resources in implicating ‘surface regularities’ in colonial discourses and their effects in typologising Africans as ‘natives’.
“I argue in this chapter for the importance of understanding the representation of Africanness in colonial discourses as an effect of the construction of colonial whiteness.”  (pp. 14-15)

Chapter 7.  ‘Transgressive’ Sexualities:  Contesting Nativism from within and Overcoming Status Subordination.      PDF online
“[F]rom time to time, ‘African values’ are invoked by political and cultural authorities to continentalise sexuality and to prescribe a regimented and homogenised African sexuality that specifically excludes sexualities outside heterosexuality and, more specifically, delegitimises non-heteronormative and same-sex sexualities. I advance counter-arguments to the legitimacy of claims that heterosexuality is the only culturally acceptable sexuality for Africans. The chapter develops a framework for recognising diversities of sexuality in ways that are informed by a transformative understanding of sexuality and, ultimately, of an inclusive equality. The framework seeks to deconstruct scripted knowledge about sexuality in order to build an understanding that reveals the complexity, diversity and ultimately political nature of sexuality. I argue that recognising difference in the realm of sexuality requires a radical epistemology that is capable of moving beyond the raw physicality of the body, the genitalia, biological impulse and a capacity for language in order to take cognisance of how sexuality is socially constructed in historical time and place. Necessarily, representations of African sexualities ought to acknowledge that norms and frameworks which give coherence to heterosexuality and its congruent gender binaries are but one cultural variant that exists in juxtaposition with pluralistic articulations of sexualities.” (pp. 15-16)

Chapter 8. Mediating Conflicting Sexuality Identifications through Politics and an Ethics of Pluralism.   PDF online.
This chapter “concludes Part 3 with a discussion of how we might mediate conflicting sexuality identifications through first promoting an understanding of the politics and ethics of pluralism. The discussion is predicated on an assumption, regardless of contradictory praxis, that African states in their independence as well as post-independence constitutions formally commit themselves to political pluralism. Against this backdrop the overarching premise is that in political communities committed to liberal democracy, differences are an ordinary part of our political lives.  Even if we agree as to how we should be governed and share political space, it is not necessary or warranted that we should also reach agreement on all moral issues, including conceptions of our sexual and reproductive selves.
“Chapter 8 builds its arguments partly by appropriating to the concept of ‘equality’ two political notions: the notion of an ‘overlapping consensus’ as advocated by John Rawls, and the notion of ‘dissensus’ as advocated by Nicholas Rescher.  In part the chapter builds its arguments by linking equality with participatory democracy using mainly Iris Young’s argument for recognising difference in a heterogeneous public in which there is mutual recognition between different sexuality identifications, and Hannah Arendt’s concept of citizenship in a plural political community.
“The main thesis in Chapter 8 is that overcoming an impasse which arises where there is strong communitarian opposition to a given sexuality does not lie in dismissing such opposition as without a rational political foundation. Rather, it lies in accepting the legitimacy of the opposition through a democratic polity that  is committed to non-hierarchical inclusiveness and relations of cooperation in matters of moral and religious controversy.”   (pp. 16-17)

Download free PDF book or order paperback from the Pretoria University Law Press.

“African Rights Talk”: 2019 Interview with Prof. Charles Ngwena about this book:  26-minute podcast

Recent publications by Prof. Charles Ngwena:
“Reproductive Autonomy of Women and Girls under the Disabilities Convention.”  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 140.1 (Jan. 2018): 128-133.  Article abstract.

“Taking Women’s Rights Seriously: Using Human Rights to Require State Implementation of Domestic Abortion Laws in African Countries with Reference to Uganda,” Journal of African Law 60.1 (Feb 2016): 110-140.   Article abstract

“Human Rights Advances in Women’s Reproductive Health in Africa” by Charles G. Ngwena, Eunice Brookman-Amissah,  and Patty Skuster,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 129.2 (May 2015): 184-187.    Article download from SSRN.  Article online.

“Reforming African Abortion Laws and Practice: The Place of Transparency,” (in Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) Article abstract.

“Conscientious Objection to Abortion and Accommodating Women’s Reproductive Health Rights: Reflections on a Decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia from an African Regional Human Rights Perspective.” Journal of African Law, 58 (2014): 183-209. Article abstract.

“A Commentary on LC v Peru: The CEDAW Committee’s First Decision on Abortion.” Journal of African Law, 57.2 (Oct 2013): 310-324;   available online here.”  Abstract online.

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Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.